Welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE coverage of the men’s singles final of the ATP Tour Finals match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem. This was Shivansh Gupta keeping you company through the game.
You can read the match report here.
Until next time, it’s goodbye.
Thank you for joining us so late into the night. I hope, irrespective of who you supported tonight, the brand of tennis we just witnessed will help you get rid of your Monday blues.
Wow, what exhibition of tennis. The 2019 ATP Tour signs off in ecstatic fashion and safe to say, it was the most fitting to a great season.
Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Dominic (6) 6-7, 6-2. 7-6 (4) in 2 hours and 35 minutes.
What a thrilling conclusion to a marathon clash.
GAME SET AND MATCH! STEFANOS TSITSIPAS IS YOUR ATP FINALS 2019 CHAMPION! HE IS THE FIRST GREEK CHAMPION IN THE HISTORY OF THE YEAR-ENDERS HISTORY!
6-4: Two championship points for Tsitsipas. Thiem gave it everything, but hit the forehand into the net.
IN PROGRESS- SET 3
5-4: This time, it’s long and the momentum is right back with Stef. He has two serves in hand.
4-4: HE IS BACK LEVEL! What an absolutely legendary backhand. Stef thought it was long, before realising it wasn’t. The return is hit into the net.
4-3: Thiem with two mini-break and he is right back in it! The commentators have said it. Nobody deserves to lose this match. Attacks the net after a huge forehand and an overhead smash to win the point.
People can’t watch in the O2 Arena, covering their faces. I don’t blame them. I’m having goosebumps here.
4-2: If you think Thiem is running out of gas, well think again! He nails a down the line backhand and forces the Greek to return the ball inside his own court.
4-1: Tsitsipas in total control. Second mini-break and he has two serves in hand. Tired looking backhand on the jump from Thiem smashes into the net.
3-1: Mini-break for Stef has Thiem hits a cross-court backhand wide. The crowd is still shouting “Tsitsipas, Tsitsipas”!
2-1: Tsitsipas and Thiem are digging deep into their reserves. He still has the energy to attack and finish the point with a smash. The crowd is shouting “Tsitsipas, Tsitsipas”!
1-1: Over-pressing from Thiem as he whips the forehand long
0-1: Thiem wins the first point as Stef hits the return long.
TIE-BREAKER SET 3
6-6: TSITSIPAS HOLDS TO FORCE TIE-BREAK IN DECIDING SET! What a display of grit and brave tennis from the Greek. After two winner past Thiem at the baseline, he forces an error from the Austrian, who rams the return into the net. At 40-15, Thiem finds enough room with a massive cross-court forehand, that lands just inside the line and Stef fails to reach there on time. Thiem hits the return long and we are now in the climax after 54 minutes.
Right then, the equation is simple. If Tsitsipas holds, we head into the deciding tie-breaker. If he doesn’t Thiem lifts the trophy.
5-6: THIEM JUST ONE GAME AWAY! Oooh! The pressure and tension is so high at O2 right now, it’s almost palpable. Double fault from Thiem. But he makes up for his error with brilliant net play in the next point ot make it 30-15. Sends Stef wide with a powerful forehand and then approaches the net. Stef anticipates the direction of the first volley correctly, but has no answers to the overhead smash from Thiem. Wins the next point, Stef, to make it 15-40. But Thiem does him one better by serving his seventh ace of the match to close the game and move one game away from the title.
5-5: QUICK HOLD! By the time I finished writing about Thiem’s hold, Stefanos decided to complete his love-hold. Scintillating tennis!
4-5: BIG HOLD FROM THIEM! Wow, that’s another rocket from the Austrian’s racket. 92 mph winner down the line. The ball swung in the air like an out-swinging cricket ball. What a backhand there! Makes it 40-15 with a double fault. Looks at the umpire shockingly as is booed by the crowd! Closes the game in extraordinary fashion. Was the Fan Zhendong, the world no.1 TT player? No, it was the highest-ranked Austrian. Got confused for a second there the way he crouched at the net and put immense top-spin the on the inside-out forehand winner. Just the right amount of weight on it.
4-4: TSITSIPAS HOLDS! This was an important service game for Tsitsipas and he had to win to stay in the hunt and he did just that. Went up 40-15 as He forced Thiem to hit his backhand down the line just wide of the side line. 40-30 as he puts too much power in his forehand cross-court drive and hits it out of bounds. Lovely rally there. Stands his ground, holds the authority and then gets the winner with a big forehand.
3-4: THIEM, YOU BEAUTY! He is firing at all cylinders, is Thiem! The one-handed backhand down the line had so much venom in it that Tsitsipas couldn’t even move. Once again, he has found a sudden burst from energy out of nowhere. Thiem holds to love to go up a break as Stef fails to keep vicious backhands from Thiem in-bounds.
3-3: THIEM BREAKS AND WE ARE LEVEL!Tsitsipas bottles an easy forehand volley at the net by hitting it long off the baseline and giving Thiem a small advantage to Thiem. Thiem makes it 15-40 and has two chances to break him after Tsitsipas at the net is met with an absolute peach of a backhand directed at him. He fails to keep the volley in. Thiem misses a regulation forehand long. Lapse in concentration there for sure. He does have another chance though. Not this time, says Thiem. Stef whips the backhand cross-court from the baseline wide of the sideline and game to Thiem.
3-2: TOUGH HOLD FOR THIEM!Thiem makes it 15-0 with a winner down the line. He makes it 30-0 with an attacking play. Sends Stef deep into his backhand and then charges to the net for a volley. Places it on the opposite end, making Stef run. Eventually, the Greek’s lob falls long. Makes it 40-0 with an ace. 40-15 as Tsitsipas’ return is hit back over him by Thiem. 40-30 to Thiem. Unlucky there. Forehand drive down the centre of the court clips the net and falls right in the zone for Stef. Who takes his time to drill the winner with a forehand, sending Thiem the wrong way. Finishes it off with an ace.
3-1: TSITSIPAS HOLDS TO LOVE! He is now up a double break. Impressive service game from the Greek.
2-1: TSITSIPAS BREAKS! Three break-point for the Greek. 2/8 converted as Thiem saves the first one. He saves no.9. Thiem with gutsy tennis. Impressive decision to charge to the net under such pressure and pull off such a sublime volley. Tsitsipas loses his footing at the baseline. Could it be cramps? TSITSIPAS CONVERTS THE TENTH AS BACKHAND DOWN THE LINE RETURN FROM THIEM SMASHES INTO THE NET.
We are in for an exciting finish. I’d suggest you grab your cup of coffee. I’ve got mine next to me.
1-1: Hold to love from Tsitsipas.
0-1: The first point of the set goes to Tsitsipas as Thiem’s backhand cross-court falls wide. He follows it up with a an overhead smash after attacking the net with lovely forehand slice to force a loose return from Stef. Makes it 30-15 with an ace. Loose return at the baseline from Thiem. The balls falls right next to his feet at the baseline and Thiem completely miscues the return and the ball flies out. WHAT A RALLY! Fierce exchange of ground strokes form the baseline from both players before Stef charges to the net with a sublime volley at the net. Thiem saves break point no. 5 of the match with a huge forehand winner down the line. So, so good from Tsitsipas!Forces Thiem to hit consecutive backhands, eventually losing the point. Break point no. 8 for Tsitsipas. Thiem survives. Runs around to cover the backhand into the forehand and hit a great forehand down the line. Stef’s return falls wide. Advantage to Thiem with a great serve down the T. WHAT A BAILOUT AND HIS REACTION SAYS IT ALL! A fist pump and boy, isn’t he elated.
Thiem to serve first. Decider, here we come!
Stefanos Tsitsipas has responded in emphatic fashion to draw back level and force the match into the decider. He took just 28 minutes to do so.
6-2: TSITSIPAS HOLDS AND ON WE GO TO THE DECIDING SET!
Tsitsipas to serve for the second set.
5-2: THIEM HOLDS! What a volley from Thiem! He sprint into a backhand slice from Stef and digs low for a volley behind Stef, who somehow manages to chip it back. But Thiem is standing tall there, waiting for an easy finish. 30-0. Thiem places the backhand cross-court return just wide of the left side line. Makes it 40-15 with an ace. He holds with lethal serve down the T.
5-1: JUST ONE GAME AWAY FROM THE SET! Thiem’s return falls into the net as Tsitsipas goes up 30-0. Makes it 40-0 with an ace past Thiem’s backhand. Stef holds.
SO FAR, THIEM HAS SAVED 4/6 break points AND STEF HAS SAVED ALL TWO.
4-1: THIEM OFF THE MARK, FINALLY! Thiem plays out a hold to love to get on the board in the second serve. Strong service game!
4-0: TSITSIPAS UP A DOUBLE BREAK NOW! Brilliant second serve, that was bouncing high and spinning into Thiem viciously, as Tsitsipas makes it 30-0. Hold to love to go up a double break.
How about that for a response from Tsitsipas! What a way to claw his way back into the match. Thiem has let the intensity drop and when Stef is outside your, you can’t leave the door unlatched.
3-0: STEF BREAKS AGAIN! Loose from Thiem! At 15-15, plays a flat drop shot and Stef has enough time to place the ball behind Thiem at the baseline. Thiem was always second best there as he cannot return the ball over the net. TWO MORE BREAK POINTS FOR STEF! Two volleys at the net before fending off another pass attempt with a stop volley. He finishes it off with a lovely top-spin forehand winner down the line. The ball bounces on the line and past Thiem.
2-0: UP A BREAK, THE GREEK GOES! Stefanos starts with an ace. Then an inside out cross-court forehand winner and yet again, sending Thiem the wrong way. Quick hands there. Makes it 40-0 as Thiem returns the ball into the net. Stef holds to go up a break.
1-0 : TSITSIPAS BREAK THIEM! Tsitsipas with a lovely winner with a cross-court backhand as he send Thiem the wrong way. Goes down 0-30 and then 0-40 Three break points for Stef. Can’t mess it from here, can the Greek? Thiem saves break point no. 4 as he attacks the net, forcing Stef to lob. The lob falls wide. 15-40. He cannot hold another one as a lazy-looking forehand falls wide. Well, well! What a twist in the tale already!
Thiem to serve first and has a real opportunity to mount further pressure on the Greek with a hold of serve.
Second set, here we go!
What a hard-fought set of Tennis! In the end, it all boiled down to who could hold the serve better and Thiem did just that. After saving three breaks and squandering two himself, he finally down Tsitsipas in the first set after 65 minutes.
6-8: AFTER 65 MINUTES, THIEM WINS THE FIRST SET. Brilliant serve down the T and Tsitsipas had no chance there.
6-7: SET POINT ON SERVE FOR THIEM! Wild, wild return from Stef. Took a whip at it real hard and hits it way out.
6-6: STEF SURVIVES UNDER PRESSURE! His 5th point at the net from seven attempts. Attacks Thiem, pushes him deep and then after two volleys, forces a lob from Thiem. Stef then finishes the point off with an overhead smash.
5-6: Thiem with an ace and Tsitsipas to serve to save the set.
5-5: Stef comes back level! On the jump forehand down the line. Line judge calls it out, Thiem reviews and loses it.
4-5: BIG, CRUCIAL POINT FROM TSITSIPAS! What a service point.
3-5: Mini-break for Stefanos as Thiem hits the return into the net.
2-5: This time, Stefanos’ return off the forehand falls wide. Stef takes a review he knew he was going to lose.
2-4: Backhand down the line return from Stef flies out of bounds.
2-3: Thiem’s return slams into the net.
1-3: Stefanos with a pitch-perfect backhand cross-court winner, that finds the corner perfectly.
0-3: THIEM IS PLAYING WITH REAL AUTHORITY! Playing the way Tsitsipas would have liked to play. Overhead smash at the net.
0-2: Makes it two-nil with a ferocious inside out forehand, that Stef could barely get any contact on.
0-1: First point to Thiem. Mini-break.
TIE-BREAKER SET 1:
6-6: THIEM FORCES THE TIE-BREAKER! from 0-30 to 30-30, the Austrian levels under immense pressure. Where is all the power coming from all of a sudden? So good on the serve and then powerful forehands to bag the winner. It’s not the first game of the match, but Thiem played it like it was. Stef makes it 40-40 after a Thiem overplays a pass from the baseline. Advantage to Thiem as Stefanos returns the ball into the net. Beautiful backhand stop volley at the net from Thiem to force the tie-breaker.
6-5: STEFANOS HOLDS! What a worldly pass past Tsitipas! See what I did there? Stef approaches the net again and Thiem had to stretch low and wide on the forehand to get contact at the baseline. But he does more than that as he pulls off an inch-perfect pass down the line to make it 15-15. 30-30 after Tsitsipas hits the return long. 40-30 to Stef after a return from the baseline by Thiem is too strong. Completes the hold with a great serve, that a stumbling Thiem isn’t able to get over the net.
5-5: THIEM WITH A COMFORTABLE HOLD!
Both players have conceded the least number of break points in the tournament and this match bears testament to their resilience. We have already seen five saves, three from Thiem and two from Tsitsipas. We are inching closer to a tie-breaker.
5-4: THE GREEK HOLDS! Tsitsipas misjudges the pace of the ball, is slow on the backhand return of the ball that just bounces in-bounds. What a volley to make it 15-15. Gutsy tennis!. A great second serve and then attacks with a sumptuous backhand volley at the net. 30-15 as Thiem thwarts the return long. Another error in the exact same fashion from Thiem. Thiem tries to lob the ball over Stef, who backtracks comfortably and puts the game to rest with an easy-looking overhead smash down the line, sending Thiem the wrong way,
4-4: THIEM SURVIVES! Thiem makes it 15-15 with an ace down the T. What a winner! The ball flies off the racket. He stood rooted for the service and won the point with an excellent down the line forehand, leaving Thiem a mere spectator. Two break points for Tsitsipas, as Thiem rams the forehand down the line winner into the net. He is livid with himself. Will he survive? He saves the first one with an ace. He saves the third break point with a giant volley. Tsitipas got good connection on the cross-court forehand pass attempt, but Thiem made himself large, reached out and finished it with a great volley. He heads into advantage after Stef’s return into the net. Stef, this time, hits it long and Thiem survives.
4-3: TOUGH HOLD FOR TSITSIPAS! Stefanos’ whips that forehand return, only for the ball to catch the top of the racket and fly into the stands. Well caught by a gentleman in the crowd. Then hits a cracking forehand that falls wide. Thiem has a chance to break. Serve and volley comes to Tsitsipas’ rescue as he saves the first break point. Tsitsipas saves a second break point with another serve and volley combination. Moves ahead into advantage with a cracking down the line forehand winner. He holds.
3-3: Thiem holds! Thiem with an ace to begin with. Stefanos makes it 15-15 with another attacking move. Strong forehand drives and pushes Thiem further back. Then charge forward for another easy winner. 15-30 to Stefanos after Thiem over-hits a forehand cross-court return that falls just wide of the left court side line. A long exchange of backhands at the baseline. Massive tennis there and the point goes Thiem as Ste hits the return long. Brilliant volley backhand volley from Thiem at the net. After pushing Stef wide, forcing him to reach out for his backhand return, he slides into the volley for a great winner. Finsihes the hold with a great serve.
3-2: STEF HOLDS! What a rally and Stef finishes on top. He outlasted Thiem, who didn’t even move an inch and let the winner pass by. The ball was right in the centre of the court. Tsitsipas makes it 30-0 with another serve and net play. Vicious serve to send the opponent wide then charges down to the net. 40-15 after both players hit their returns long. Holds it with a forehand down the line winner from mid-court.
2-2: Thiem holds! Thiem hits a return long to give Stef the first point. He makes another unforced error, this time at the net. It was a regulation forehand volley that flies long. Makes it 15-30 with a strong serve down the centre service line that Stef fails to keep inbounds. Makes it 30-30. Early break opportunity for Stefanos. First of the match after Thiem hits the return long after being pushed deep for his forehand at the baseline. Thiem saves break point no.1 . Thiem commands the rally as he kept pushing Stef backwards before charging to the net with a forehand winner. He heads into advantage with an ace. Thiem holds as Stefanos’ service return rams into the net.
Thiem will have to do really well on his serves to keep up with Tsitsipas’ strong service game.
2-1: Tsitsipas holds! Stefanos charges to the net after a great, deep serve to Thiem’s right. The latter tries a forehand cross-court pass, but the ball clips the net and falls wide. Tsitsipas makes it 30-0 with a vicious forehand cross-court winner from the baseline. Makes it 40-0 with an ace down the T. Thiem makes it 15-40 with a brilliant backhand down the line winner past Stef’s forehand. 40-30 after Stef had a chance to close the game after pushing Thiem wide. He had open space, but due to loose foot positioning, he ended up hitting the forehand inside out wide. Stefanos holds as Thiem returns it long.
1-1: HOLD TO LOVE FOR THIEM AS WELL! Thiem’s second serve and after a short rally, Stefanos hits it long off the baseline. Thiem follows it up with a quick serve to Stef’s backhand, who can only return it wide. Thiem makes it 40-0 as Stefanos’ return of the second serve is hide long and wide. Closes the game with a hold to love.
1-0: LOVE-HOLD TO START WITH FOR TSITSIPAS! His first serve is returned wide by Thiem. Stefanos makes it 30-0 with a serve pushing Thiem wide and charging to the net for a forehand cross-court winner. 40-0 with an ace. Closes the game with another ace.
TOSS: Tsitsipas will serve first.
Next, Dominic Thiem walks out to Centre Court.
First, Stefanos Tsitsipas makes his way into the centre. If 21-year-old Tsitsipas wins title, he will be the youngest champion at the season finale since a 20-year-old Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are moments away from beginning of the summit clash.
Dominic Thiem battled past Alexander Zverev in the second semifinal to become the first ever Austrian to make it to the business-end of the ATP World Tour finals. He took one hour and 34 minutes to down Zverev 7-5, 6-3 at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.
The fifth seed will face his fellow first-time finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, who pipped World No. 3 Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 in the opening semifinal.
Thiem and Tsitsipas took different routes to the summit clash. The Greek outgunned the Swiss Maestro by controlling the long rallies, not allowing his opponent to play to his strengths. He had done his homework and knew that in order to beat Federer, he had to prevent him from playing his patented serve-and-volley game, and keep the rallies as long as possible.
With 63 percent first serves in and 64 percent and 60 percent win on his first and second serves, Tsitsipas clinched nine of his service games. He had defended 12 break points during his victory against the 38-year-old Federer at the 2019 Australian Open and almost repeated the feat, saving 11 in the semis.
Tsitsipas had also troubled World no.1 Rafael Nadal before going down in a three-set thriller in the group stage.
On the other hand, World no.5 Thiem looked very cagey in his last-four clash. Though he had only a paltry 59 per cent of first serves and win on second serve, the 26-year-old made the most of Zverev’s weakened ability to convert the half chances. However, Thiem did enjoy an 81 per cent of points on his first serve and also saved four break points.
The Austrian played a solid game from the baseline and exploited the seventh seed German’s weakness at the net, drawing him forward frequently.
Dream Debut for Tsitsipas
With the victory over the six-time champion, Tsitsipas became the youngest finalist at the year-ending tournament Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009.
The 21-year-old lifted the Next Gen ATP Finals Trophy last year and has followed it up by making it to the final of the ATP World Tour Finals on his debut.
The highest-ranked Greek has become only the third player after Grigor Dimitrov, winner in 2017, and David Goffin, runner-up in 2017, to qualify for the final in his maiden appearance at the season-ender.
On Sunday, Tsitsipas will be playing in his ninth ATP final and eyeing his fourth career title, and the third in 2019. The Greek finished runner-up in three tournaments this year and wouldn’t want that count to go up in what will be his biggest final.
After beating Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev in the round-robin stage and battling past Federer in the semis, he heads into the title clash with a 3-1 win record. His solitary loss came on Friday against Rafael Nadal, who ended the year as World No.1 for the fifth time.
Interestingly, Tsitsipas is one of eight players to advance from round-robin action on the first attempt.
Tsitsipas’ road to the finals
Match 1: Beat fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-4
Match 2: Beat seventh seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-2
Match 3: Lost to first seed Rafael Nadal 7-6(4), 4-6, 5-7
Semifinal: Beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4
Fourth time lucky for Dominic Thiem?
The highest-ranked Austrian has had an impressive 2019. Among his 16 ATP titles, five have come this year and he finished second best only once (to Nadal at Roland Garros). The Austrian had failed to make it past the round-robin stage in his past three appearances.
After outstanding results against Federer in the first round-robin match and Novak Djokovic in the second, he blew cold against Matteo Berrettini, who became the first Italian to notch up a win in this tournament.
Though Austria’s ATP Cup captain may not have been able to replicate those performances in the semifinal where he looked flat, he will definitely give it his best shot against the Greek.
Thiem’s road to the finals
Match 1: Beat Roger Federer 7-5, 7-5
Match 2: Beat Novak Djokovic (5)6-7, 6-3, 7-5(5)
Match 3: Lost to Matteo Berrettini (3)6-7, 3-6
Semifinal: Beat Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3
HEAD TO HEAD
Dominic Thiem leads Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-2 in their head-to-head count.
The first-ever meeting between the Greek Tsitsipas and the Austrian Thiem was in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Qatar Open, where Thiem triumphed 7-5,6-4 in straight sets.
The current world No. 5 Thiem made it 2-0 in the H2H count by winning the round-of-64 match 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the 2018 Indian Wells Open
The first two matches were played on outdoor hard courts. In 2018, on outdoor clay at the Barcelona Open, Tsistipas clinched his first victory against fifth seed Thiem in the quarterfinals 6-3,6-2.
The highest-ranked Austrian struck back on outdoor clay at the 2018 French Open as he downed current world No. 6 Tsitsipas 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Tsitsipas got the better of Thiem 6-3, 7-6(6) in the round of 32 at the 2018 Rogers Cup
Their most recent meeting was at the 2019 China Open in October, where Thiem inched ahead to a 4-2 lead by beating the sixth seed Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.
This will be the first time that the two players will meet on indoor hard court.
Interesting fact, courtesy ATP:
- When Dominic Thiem made his first appearance at the year-ending championship in 2016, the then 18-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas was the former’s hitting partner.
Loved it? Here’s another one.
- This is just the second time since 1996 that the championship match at the ATP Finals will feature two players with one-handed backhands. In 1996, Pete Sampras beat Boris Becker, and in 2006, Roger Federer defeated James Blake.
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Where to watch the semifinal of the ATP Finals?
The semifinals of the ATP Finals can be streamed live on SonyLiv. It will also be telecast live on Sony ESPN.
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